Bacon Lentil Soup
I know soup is not something you usually think of as a summer time food, especially in Texas, but I didn’t want to make a mountain of dirty dishes, and a casserole would heat up the kitchen even worse, so soup it was. I accidentally made what appeared to be an enormous amount of soup last night, but once it got into bowls it vanished quickly. I had a little bit of bacon lying around that I wanted to finish off, so I conceived of this recipe. (Vegan alteration below) You will need:
1 16 oz. package of lentils
1/2 onion, diced
3 strips of bacon (more if you want)
5 cups kale, chopped roughly (remember, kale is bulky, so with other greens you won’t need nearly this much. If you’re using finely chopped or frozen greens about 2 cups should be plenty)
1 tsp liquid smoke
6 cups chicken or veggie broth
Seasoning salt or garlic salt to taste
Cut the bacon into small pieces and throw it in the pot. Get it started on low to medium heat while you dice the onions. Once there’s a little fat in the pan, add the onions. If you want to make this recipe vegan, leave out the bacon (shocker! I know!), and use a little olive oil to saute your veggies instead, and obviously use veggie broth later on.
Chop up and throw in your greens and let them wilt a bit. I only used 4 leaves of kale, but they were GINORMOUS MUTANT LEAVES, so I can’t really judge how much you should use. I also love greens, and they’re so healthy, I just toss in as much as will fit in the pan most of the time. Once the greens are a little wilted and easier to stir, add the broth and dried lentils. If you are using already cooked lentils, add your broth 1 or 2 cups at a time and judge how brothy you want it to be. Hubby likes thicker, more stew-like soups, so that’s what I tend to make.
Bring the pot to a mild boil (not like a vigorous, knocking-the-lid-off boil) and let it cook until the lentils are done, probably about 45 minutes. Stir it periodically. Once it gets close to done, I always eat some of the lentils to make sure they’re actually done, and not faking it. Then add the liquid smoke, and other seasonings. I also threw in a bunch of dried parsley, both to make it look pretty, and because herbs have lots of nutrients, but this is optional.
Hubby and I both enjoyed the finished product, and I’m glad there are leftovers. This recipe probably makes 8-10 normal people servings, but about 6 for me (eating for two, remember!) and Hubby. There was really minimal veggie chopping and clean up, and it was easy, even though it has a medium-long cooking time. The ingredients were also super cheap! I probably spent no more than $3 for the whole pot! Can’t beat cheap eats!